In search of storage for his extensive plant collection, landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx acquired the Sítio de Santo Antonio da Bica, on the outskirts of Río de Janeiro, in 1949. Burle Marx lived on the 365,000m² estate from 1973 until his death in 1994, taking expeditions into the Brazilian rain forest and around the world with botanists, architects and other researchers to gather plant specimens and artifacts. The Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, as it was renamed upon its donation to the Brazilian government in 1985, is home to over 3,500 species of plants, as well as Burle Marx’s eccentric collection of Brazilian folk art, pre-Columbian earthenware, paintings and antiquities.
At an auction in the Barra de Guaratiba in 1976, Burle Marx encountered and became enamored with an old wooden door. Ornate and towering, the door refused to be integrated into Burle Marx’s home; nonetheless determined, the architect built an additional anteroom to accommodate it, ultimately utilizing the space for his collection of art and artifacts.
This exhibit recreates and reinterprets the door, that privileged intermediary between Burle Marx’s living and nonliving collections, and explodes its interior space to stage an interactive, sensorial threshold. In this liminal zone, imbued by Burle Marx with “poetic emotion,” plants and things come to life.
Project developed and constructed in conjunction with Dalma Földesi, Michael Glassman and Nicolas Schmidt. See the full presentation on Google Drive.
9′ x 6′ x 2′ MDF and plywood installation, ink-on-paper catalog